AR216 Art History II

for S1T 2010

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AR 216 Art History II


S1T 2010 DL


Ricci, Glenn A.

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours


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Course Description:
AR216 Art History II (MGE): A chronological survey of the history of art from the Renaissance through the twentieth centruy. Insturction is not limited to the western tradition but incudes sections on Asia, Oceania, India, Africa and the Americans. Gallery tours augment slide-lecture instruc- tion. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize and identify the special stylistic characteristics of the arts from the wide range of civilizations and cultures addressed in this course.
  2. Discuss some of the ways specific civilizations and cultures are directly reflected in their art and architecture.
  3. Use the specialized language of art and architecture, both orally and in writing, to discuss and respond to art.
  4. Observe art with greater perception (a “trained eye”) and an ability to begin interpreting both its form and its content.

Core Assessment:

For a due date, please check the course syllabus or course overview. 

·         The paper should be approximately 750 words in length. (give or take 10% - absolutely no more than 1250)

·         Your focus will be on a single work of art.

·         NO RESEARCH is necessary.

Your Trip to the Museum:

You will choose a work of art from a local museum. (If you do not have access to a museum near you, please choose an object that interests you from a museum or gallery website on-line. If you must work from a photo found on-line, try looking for multiple views or details on multiple sites.) You will need to bring:

·         a pad of paper

·         a pencil -The museum will not allow you to use a pen in the gallery. 

·         a few extra sheets of paper for sketching. Your sketches do not need to be professional or finished, so any blank sheet of paper will do. 

·         the handout I will give you, copied from A Survival Guide for Art History Students, by Christina Maranci. Chapter 3, “Putting Words to Images: Mastering the Response Essay,” pp. 33 – 70.

Choose an appropriate work of art! The date, period, and place of origin should be relevant and fall within the parameters of our class. Choose a work of art that engages you intellectually or emotionally.

Plan on spending a minimum of 40 minutes with the object you choose.  This is 40 minutes of quality looking, not discussion with a friend. My suggestions will take you 45 minutes to 1 hour:

1.      look at the object for at least 15 minutes (no notes yet)

2.      then take as many notes as you can (to make things easier, the Survival Guide handout has listed questions to ask yourself while taking notes)

3.      take a break to walk around, stretch, get a drink

4.      look at the object again for another 15 minutes (you will be more perceptive the second time around)

5.      take notes again

6.      try sketching the object (this doesn’t have to be good but will miraculously seem to point out to you additional observations about the object) 

It is often helpful to come back another day to look again, but this is not necessary to complete the assignment, particularly if you follow my suggestions and take good notes.
The Paper Itself:

This exercise is called a response essay. You do not need to research anything. You will visit the museum, choose a work of art, and write the essay based only on what you can see. Looking is not as simple as you may think. Rather than merely describe the object, you will want to analyze its form. You need to ask yourself the questions:

·        “What is this doing?”

·        “Why do I have this response?”

The challenge is to analyze a work of art, separating its parts in order to understand the whole. You must resist the urge to merely describe, and instead evaluate the object.   Further insights and instructions can be found in A Survival Guide for Art History Students, by Christina Maranci. Chapter 3, “Putting Words to Images: Mastering the Response Essay,” pp. 33 – 70.

Organization of the Paper: (further explanations and examples can be found in the Survival Guide handout)

1.      The Introduction

a.      Write a Short Description of the Work You Have Chosen. Include identifying subject matter or forms, setting or space, color, and medium.  

b.      State Your Main Argument. A thesis statement related to the overall effect or meaning of the object.

c.      State (Briefly) the Ways in Which You Will Prove It.

2.      The Main Body (a detailed description/analysis including, but not limited to, the following):

a.      Discuss the Medium, the medium’s traits, and the artist’s use of the medium.

b.      Discuss the relevant formal elements (i.e.: line, shape and space, composition and relative scale, light and color, style)

c.      Discuss the composition (i.e.: unity/variety, balance, emphasis, focal point)

d.      Discuss the relationship the formal elements and composition have to the subject’s meaning (or overall effect).

3.      The Conclusion.

a.      Restate the Main Argument

b.      Place this work of art into the big picture. Relate it to a larger issue, art-historical movement, etc.

4.      Attach an image of the object (This can be a postcard purchased from the museum bookstore, a photograph, or your sketch. Your own sketch does not need to be professional quality.)

Don’t forget to include the objective information somewhere within the paper: artist (if known), culture, date and period; medium; size; museum. Most, if not all, will be available on the museum label found near the object.

Mechanics of the Paper:

·         The paper should be approximately 750 words in length. (give or take 10% - absolutely no more than 1250). This will turn out to be 3-5 pages in length

·        Pages numbered

·        Proper organization, complete sentences, grammar, punctuation, spelling and word choice

Remember that less-than-graceful writing will count strongly against you, as well as misspellings and typos and other signs of carelessness.  Proofread.  It helps to have someone read over your “final” version before you print it out.  You’d be amazed at what you miss. 

You can find further hints on writing art papers from these sources on reserve:

A Short Guide to Writing about Art, by Sylvan Barnet. 3rd edition.

A Survival Guide for Art History Students, by Christina Maranci. Chapter 3, “Putting Words to Images: Mastering the Response Essay,” pp. 33 – 70.

Look! The Fundamentals of Art History, by Anne D’Alleva. Chapter 3, “Writing art-history papers,” pp. 64 – 69.

Link to Class Rubric

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CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
  Topic chosen is appropriate; work of art is relevant to course; time AND place fall within parameters of course subject matter Time or place of work of art does not fall within parameters of class 
Application-Objective Info                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
 Mentions all: artist's name (if known); culture of origin; date and era; medium; size; name of museum Missing 1 element of the subject's objective info Missing 2 or more elements 
Introduction grasps reader's attention (engages the reader) and forecasts major points; includes brief overall description and thesis Some introduction; missing no more than one of the following elements: description, thesis, forecast Some introduction; only one of the following elements included: description, thesis, forecast No or poor introduction 
Synthesis-Articulation of Thesis                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
 Clear articulation of thesis or argument Some articulation of thesis No or poor articulation of thesis 
Application-Paragraph Development                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
 Paragraphs are consistently well developed, w/ a clear  topic sentence & appropriate number of sentences that provide examples & develop points Some structure and development of paragraphs and/or some with clear topic sentences or focus, but not consistently Poor paragraphs with no clear topic sentence; multiple topics; little or no development 
Application-Use of Examples                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
 Frequent or consistent use of examples & evidence; example or evidence appears whenever the reader asks, “For instance?” Some use of examples or evidence, but not consistent; no examples or evidence in places where they are needed Little or no use of examples 
 Every paragraph works to support the thesis; “linked” paragraphs Occasional tangents; repetition Lack of coherence; i.e. mismatch between the thesis and the body; tangents 
 A conclusion going beyond summary of what was written in the body of the essay Some summary of points made, but nothing beyond summary; no broad conclusions/lessons No or poor conclusion or summary of argument 
Writing has a compelling opening, an informative middle, and a satisfying conclusion Writing has a beginning, a middle, and an end Organization is rough but workable; may sometimes get off topic Writing is aimless and disorganized 
Skill in Communication-Transitions                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
 Strong and/or consistent transition between points in essay; strong flow Some transition or flow between paragraphs; partial structure to argument Little or no transition between paragraphs; poor flow 
Skill in Communication-Sentence                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Sentences are clear and complete Sentences are well-constructed; some awkward sentences do appear Sentences are often awkward, run-ons, or fragments Run-on sentences and sentence fragments make essay hard to read 
Skill in Communication-Word Choice                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Words are striking but natural, varied and vivid Some fine and some routine word choices Words often dull or uninspired, or sound like trying too hard to impress Same words over and over; some words may be confusing or used incorrectly 
Skill in Communication-Conventions                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling; page numbers on bottom of page A few errors to fix, but generally use correct conventions (1-2) Enough errors in essay to make paper distract a reader (3-4) Numerous errors make paper hard to read (5 or more) 
  No factual errors 1 or more facts wrong 
 675 – 1250 words in length 600 – 675 words; over 1250 words Less than 600 words 
  All references correctly cited; includes image References cited incorrectly or no image included 


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Last Updated:1/14/2010 5:47:18 PM